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Author Topic: Chalkbrood?  (Read 1911 times)
IndianaBrown
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« on: July 16, 2006, 11:53:08 PM »

Sorry for the long post, but I believe I found some chalkbrood in one of my hives today.  Confirmation and suggestions would be welcome.

Background:  I have 2 hives, both started this year.  One was started from a nuc in April. The second came from a captured swarm in May.  While I have a large backyard, due to the presence of kids and the nervousness of wife and neighbors, I created a 6' X 8' enclosure with 4' high walls of normal 'tight' lattice.  The enclosure is in the northwest corner or our yard, facing south. The enclosure was intended for one hive, but when I got the swarm colony I managed to fit in the second one. All of the lots around ours have large trees and there is a 6' privacy fence to the west. Now that summer is here, the hives get some direct sunlight from around mid-morning to mid-afternoon, but are often shaded.  The whole yard is shaded a good part of the day, so I really do not have much choice in this.  Also, it has been relatively wet this year, often raining everyday for a week at a time.  I am using BeeMax Polystyrene hives with screened bottom boards.  Aside from the nuc frames, all frames were new.  Both hives have partially blocked bottom entrances and fully open top entrances created by using wood shims, so ventilation should be ok.

The nuc hive is doing fine; packed with bees and covering virtually every frame in 1 deep and 2 medium supers.  The only (minor) concern is this:  I added a bottom deep with starter strips awhile ago, but while there are tons of bees in it, (they beard all over the strip and frame when I inspect,) they have not drawn it out at all.  This hive has been a little slow to draw all along, but seem to be completely healthy and active.  (I pulled a fully capped frame of honey from them today so the in-laws could have a taste.)  This hive gets a bit more direct sun than the other hive.

The hive from the swarm seemed to be doing fine at first glance also.  They have consistently been a couple weeks behind the other hive, but that was not unexpected.  They have the same number of boxes, 2 deeps and 2 mediums, with the same pattern of not drawing out the second deep yet.  (They started out drawing much better than the nuc hive, but have since slowed down.)  They are capping honey, and while there seem to be somewhat fewer bees, they still fill most of the hive, and seemed to be healthy.  There are a few empty supercedure cells, and some brood in one of the honey supers, but I am not concerned by any of that.

The last time I inspected this hive, just over a week ago, I noticed a few 'mummified' looking things in the screen on the bottom board, but I did not notice any other problems.  Due to my inexperience, I thought that it was just the remains of some other kind of insect that the bees were fighting off.  They were slightly smaller than the bees, and were a whitish grey.  Today I noticed a few of these 'mummies' in a few cells on 2 frames of the brood nest.  They are not curled up at all; they are lying straight along the length of the cells.  I poked one with a twig, and it was not soft or wet.  There was nothing 'ropey' about it.  The 'mummy' I checked came out easily in one piece.  The best way I can describe them is that they look like half size yogurt covered raisins. I also saw 2 or 3 perforated brood cappings nearby.  This is not widespread at all.  I saw maybe a dozen of them in the entire hive.  There is no noticable foul odor from the hive.

This hive gets a bit less sun than the other one.  Coincidently I trimmed back a honeysuckle bush that was shading this hive earlier this weekend. I also cut back some other bushes that may have been restricting airflow around the enclosure.  Other than this, I am not sure what to do.  (I am considering ways to put them on the roof of my garage next year, since that is the only place around that gets sunlight most of the day.) Any other suggestions would be appreciated.
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Brian D. Bray
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« Reply #1 on: July 17, 2006, 12:47:32 AM »

This sounds more like chillbrood to me. If Chalkbrood there should be some dark or black moteling and have a tendency to be watery.  Chillbrood on the other hand will have fully developed pupae being pulled from the cells by the worker bee.  The pupae will be solid, not moist or squishy.  

Chillbrood is from what it soundslike--chilled brood that died from cold.  The cure would be to reduce the amount of ventilation and tighten up the brood chamber.  It an be found at any spot on the brood pattern area.

If Chalkbrood, opening some of the freshly caped larva should show a fuzzy bloom that is the fungus that causes the disease growing on the larva before it is killed.  In more prnounced stages the comb in the brood area may even show the fungus, however, at this stage saving the hive can be difficult.  It is also generally limited to the outer fringes of the brood pattern.

If it is chalkbrood the feral hive probably brought it with them.  The treatment is to treat the same way you would EFB and also reduce ventilation and tighten up the brood area.
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Finsky
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« Reply #2 on: July 17, 2006, 03:18:49 AM »

First thing is to change the queen. If you are lucky, you get rid of disease.
Hive site in shadow and rainy weather rise chalkbrood often.

The tolerance against chalkbrood inherits.
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Brian D. Bray
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« Reply #3 on: July 19, 2006, 02:20:51 AM »

Having thought about the problem some more I have to ask if there is a dearth or draught going on in your area as others have reported in theirs?
In the case of a prolonged period without sufficient nectar sources bees will sometimes remove the brood so as not having to use its vital stores for the raising of new bees (which will consume more stores).  It is a survival response amd they would tap a whole in any cells from which they intend to remove pupae.  The oldest brood (that closest to hatching) is usually removed first to momentarily stun the hive growth with more being removed as they get older to hatching and as the dearth period continues.

The presence of blackish colored spots or the fuzz on the brood would denote Chalkbrood.

Just remember that requeening doesn't always solve the problem so I would be less inclined to pull the trigger on the queen than Finsky would.
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IndianaBrown
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« Reply #4 on: July 19, 2006, 07:01:37 PM »

Thanks as always for your input gentlemen.

Brian, there is definatley not a drought, although it has dried up and gotten hot recently.  As far as a dearth, there is nothing obviously in bloom at the moment except for clover, but there should be plenty of that in the neighborhood.  The bees from both hives are still coming and going as normal, although I have noticed that there is less pollen ocming in than there was perviously.

The bees moved 20+ 'mummies' out of the hive several days ago, and there were not all that many in the first place, so I am not worried about them cleaning it up, whatever the cause.  

During the inspection I did not see any fuzz anywhere, but I did not check under any cappings.  If I still see evidence of a problem next time I inspect, I will open some up and see.  If it spreads I will consider requeening, but for now I will leave them alone.

From the reading I have done, aside from the 'fuzz' stage, it still sounds like chalkbrood to me, but I have not found any difinitive descriptions of the symptoms of chillbrood.  (Or even a single commonly used term: chillbrood, chilled brood, broodchill, etc.) What I saw in my hive looks exactly like photos of the 'mummy' stage of chalkbrood.

After I thought about it some more, I thoutht of something else that may have contributed to this aside from the dampness and lack of sunlight:  This was the hive that would not work the 2 leftmost frames, and was tending to build vertically rather than horizontly.  It was suggested that I move the whole brood nest to the left and put those 2 frames on the right side.  I did so several weeks ago.  (I inspect roughly every 8 to 14 days, but neglected my notes earlier this summer.)  The mummies were found only near the top-back of the (current) second and third frames.  Since these frames used to be closer to the center, (4 and 5) I wonder if the nurse bees were just not working that part of the hive as well.  Could this lead to chillbrood or chalkbrood in a localized area?  

Next time I will just let them do their own thing.  Oh, and make sure that I take better notes.  Smiley
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Brian D. Bray
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« Reply #5 on: July 20, 2006, 12:46:53 AM »

>>aside from the dampness and lack of sunlight:

There is your answer as to the cause whether it was either Chill brood or Chalkbrood.  The hive needs a little ventilation, are you using SBBs?
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IndianaBrown
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« Reply #6 on: July 21, 2006, 12:20:58 AM »

Yes, SBB's and hives are sitting on pallets.  I also have top entrances created by using wood shims.  The bottom entrances are restricted to about 2 inches in width.

I saw 2 more mummies that were pushed out of the hive over the last day or two.  I hope it has run it's course.  I plan to do an inspection in about a week.
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Finsky
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« Reply #7 on: July 21, 2006, 12:54:32 AM »

If you seek from internet "chalk brood" you find very similar stories.

First change the queen. Nothing helps if queen and her bees has no ability enough to resist disease. I have done a lot of work to get rid off chalkbrood.

http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0073-47212001000200016

.
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Finsky
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« Reply #8 on: July 21, 2006, 01:01:34 AM »

Quote from: IndianaBrown
The mummies were found only near the top-back of the (current) second and third frames.


Mummies may exist only in one frame. It tells that you have keep frame outside hive too long and larvae have gaught cold. When cells are contaminated disease continue in that frame. So it is better to take off frame if it has too much mummies.

Last summer I killed all young queens which showed chalkbrood in mating hives.
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